IVN Daily Digest — July 21, 2014

1. Op-ed in The Salt Lake Tribune says 2014 will be a year for independent voters in Utah.

“Primary elections are pivotal in the democratic process and are often the most competitive. But in Utah, independents are compelled to affiliate with a party or accept an abridged ballot. We could stand pat and limit ourselves to voting on issues and ancillary races, but that is acquiescing to an abridged ballot – one largely devoid of candidates — for the simple reason that we would not join a pre-approved political organization. When phrased in these raw terms, the anti-democratic nature of our political structures is hard to miss. Our right to freedom of association naturally encompasses freedom from compulsory association!”

The author adds that the plight of the American voters — both independent and partisan — is that we are treated as first-class taxpayers and second-class voters, an argument that is appearing more and more as independents protest systems that discriminate against their right to participate in free and equal elections.

2. Independent New Yorkers plan to make their presence felt on primary election day.

“Instead, we will be working to make ourselves visible at a time when we are most invisible. That’s because New York is a closed primary state in which independent voters, 2.4 million in New York state and nearly 1 million in New York City, are barred from participating in primary elections.”

Like in Utah and other states throughout the country during the primary election season, independent voters in New York are tired of being disenfranchised by the election system in their state and are making their voices heard on primary election day.

3. Maryland independents are not satisfied with the state’s election system.

“[Opening primary elections to unaffiliated voters] would make candidates more accountable to the overall concerns and needs of the public, not just their political base,” Wildman said.

According to the article, though independents make up the second largest voting bloc in the state, they were only allowed to vote for one office during the 2014 gubernatorial primary. This doesn’t sound like free and equal elections.

4. Op-ed argues for nonpartisan, top-two open primary in Michigan.

“Too often, November elections are decided in August primaries that have tiny voter turnouts. This model produces higher-quality choices for voters.”

A very brief post, but another example of how the calls for nonpartisan elections are increasing.

5. The Washington Post reports on a recent report highlighting record-low turnout in primary elections nationwide.

“In all, the numbers suggest the campaigns, party committees and independent super PACs are spending potentially record sums to reach fewer voters than ever before. With money washing through the system at staggering rates, each vote’s value is skyrocketing compared to previous cost-per-ballot figures.”

Whether voters are disenchanted by political gridlock in Washington, partisan gerrymandering designed to marginalize the voices of certain voters, or an electoral system that is rigged to put parties before voters, voter frustration is at an all-time high and people don’t want to participate in a system they believe they don’t have a meaningful say in.

What news stories have you been following?